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GE launches fund to invest in tech, media

April 17, 2007|From Reuters

General Electric Co. is launching a $250-million equity fund to invest in media and technology companies, an executive said Monday, part of a broader push by traditional media companies to get into hot areas such as digital advertising or social networks.

Adify, a company whose technology helps build and support online ad networks, received the first $3-million investment announced by the fund, which is overseen by NBC Universal and GE Media, Communications & Entertainment. NBC Universal is 80% owned by GE and 20% by Vivendi.

Other investments by the fund will focus on companies developing technologies or businesses that NBC Universal can use in building its digital business, said Beth Comstock, NBC Universal's president of integrated media.

The companies would most likely be involved in areas such as advertising services, wireless or digital content, Comstock said.

"It basically is a way for us to invest in smart companies where we see a strategic value and companies that have a high-growth potential, particularly in the digital media space," she said.

The fund, which has been under discussion for about six months, will target investments ranging from about $3 million to $15 million each.

"I would imagine we will be investing with some sort of regularity. Certainly every quarter," Comstock said. She said the fund would chiefly invest in areas that could help NBC Universal's digital business.

Adify received the $3 million as part of a broader round of financing that raised $19 million.

San Bruno, Calif.-based Adify makes technology used to create online ad networks with automated management, tracking, reporting, billing and payment systems.

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